By Muhammad Luqman
Light rains lashed most of the parts of Pakistan on Monday, helping the winter season set in the South Asian country that has been in grip of dryspell over the last three weeks.
Eastern city of Lahore along with various parts of the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa received first rain of December which provided much-needed relief from the dry and smoggy weather .
Twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad also received rain while Murree and upper parts of Kashmir are receiving intermittent snowfall, turning weather cold, according to meteorological department.
Environmentalists believe that the rains would help improve the ambiance in the urban centres like Lahore, Faisalabad , Rawalpindi, Gujranwala and Multan besides bringing down the incidence of the smog-induced diseases like cough, cold and sore throat.
With the downpour, the weather turned cold and rainwater inundated various places in upper parts besides few central areas of Punjab. Police and rescue agencies advised people to stay at home unless absolutely necessary.
“ Weather may turn colder after the wetspell and foggy conditions may become more severe in the coming days,” Chief Meteorologist, Sahibzad Khan says.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Meteorological Department has issued a drought warning in Southern Pakistan provinces of Sindh and Balochistan.
According to an alert issued by the Met Office, below normal rainfall has been recorded over most of the southern parts of the country while major rainfall deficit was experienced in the province of Sindh (-71.9 per cent), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (-46.9 per cent) and Balochistan (-44.2 per cent) during the months of June to November.
19 districts of Sindh and 11 districts of Balochistan are facing moderate to severe drought, the notification further said.
Karachi, Hyderabad, Badin, Larkana, Sanghar, Dadu, Mityari, Shaheed Benzairabad, Mohenjodaro, Tharparkar, Jacobabad, Padidan, Thatta, Jamshoro, Qambar Shadadkot, Umerkot, Rohri, Khairpur and Sajwal are facing drought in Sindh.
In Balochistan, Quetta, Mastung, Gwadar, Awaran, Kech, Panjgur, Bolan, Kharan, Chagi, Noushki and Washuk are among the district’s facing drought.
The meteorological department added that the water availability in the Tarbela and Mangla dams is at its lowest in the last nine years i.e. half filled. However, water storage of small dams situated in Pothwar region is satisfactory.
The Met Office has advised that keeping in view the climatology, dam’s situation and current seasonal forecast, drought conditions may exacerbate and affect the agriculture and livestock in the above-said districts and can propagate to other districts as well.
Dry conditions will cause water stress in the cultivated lands and areas of the country due to the limited supply of irrigation water for Rabi crops, the Met added.